Sir Vivian Richards: A legend at 60
As the batting genius turns 60, lets take a look at the career of the batamen that was a menace to the best bowlers for almost 20 years.
Sir Vivian Richards, arguably the most dangerous batsman of his era has turned 60. His legacy remains as one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the game. In his prime, he was the scourge of bowlers across the world which made him a crowd favourite. His tenacity of taking the fight to the other side earned him the respect of teammates and opponents alike. Here is the look at a career that came at the expense of the bowlers' plight, battered bats and demoralised boundary ropes.
Richards' rise was synonymous with West Indies' complete dominance of World Cricket. His style was unique, one hard to associate to any modern-day cricketers. The sheer power of the right-hander made him impossible to bowl to and his reach made his stance even more unpredictable.
Vivian Richards first created an impact on the 1976 tour of England in which he was the highest run-getter with two double centuries.
In the 1979 Prudential World Cup Final Richards scored 138 not out which would win the West Indies their second World Cup in a row. The most memorable shots were the two sixes off the last two balls off Mike Hendrick as he converted the yorkers into low full tosses and sent them out of the park.
In 1984, Richards played the innings of his career; with the West Indies nine down, he led a rear guard action with Michael Holding. He would go on to make 189 not out which would remain the highest individual score in limited overs cricket till Saeed Anwar's 194 against India in 1997. The innings features at the top of Wisden's list of top innings in ODIs.
Richards' form however, slipped in the second half of the 1980s. After a spell that tormented bowlers, Richards' career faced a downfall.
A real character off the field, Richards was a party lover and loved to relax in his time off.
In the 1987 Reliance World Cup, Richards once again displayed his class but it wasn't enough to rescue his team from an opening round exit. With 181 runs against Sri Lanka he became the first batsman to have two scores of 180 plus in one day internationals, a record he held for 23 years.
The class of West Indies' cricket in those days was such that even though Richards did not lose a single home series during his captaincy, he was never seen as a match for the post under the leadership Clive Lloyd.
England was his favourite hunting ground as he has had the most success there away from home. Apart from his international success, Richards also had a great county stint with Somerset and Glamorgan who he led to Championships.
Richards remains till date arguably the most aggressive batsman the game has seen. Richards retired with the highest individual score in one day cricket and the fastest century in Test cricket of 56 balls, a record he still holds today.